Once we return, the campus experience will be different than it was before the COVID-19 crisis. Many details have been worked out, and many are still to come. We appreciate the input we have received from students, families, faculty and staff so far and it continues to help shape planning efforts. Returning to campus will be in phases and the plans follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, city and VCU Health guidance. To be together means we are responsible together.
When we return, things will look and feel different as we take necessary steps to protect the well-being of our community. Before returning, you will complete the employee training, and acknowledge successful training completion and personal compliance with safety protocols. Managers will complete an additional training. Employees will sign attestation indicating training completion and personal compliance with safety protocols. Managers will sign an additional attestation indicating training completion and compliance with safety protocols.
Here is what is expected of you:
Follow safety protocols including those regarding face coverings and masks, cleaning and disinfecting, and physical distancing. Employees will receive reminders for daily health monitoring. Managers will be notified after repeated non-compliance. Disciplinary action for employees up to and including termination will be used for a failure to comply with rules.
See additional details about VCU's strategy for reopening in our Return to Campus plan.
VCU's fall semester will now run from Aug. 17 to Nov. 24, with no fall break or reading days included. Final exams will be conducted remotely after the Thanksgiving holiday — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 for those on the MCV Campus, and from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7 for Monroe Park Campus students. Note: Health sciences and other students may be returning after Thanksgiving to resume their clinical placements and similar activities to which they are committed. This change necessarily affects Commencement, originally scheduled for Dec. 12. We will evaluate guidance on larger gatherings over the next several months and explore how we will recognize the full Class of 2020. More information about the academic calendar will be shared later this summer.
These changes, based on recommendations from public health experts, are designed to reduce the amount of travel to and from campus, and to help avoid the height of flu season.
Gathering in large groups during a public health crisis is not acceptable and VCU does not encourage or condone these activities. Instead, the university encourages holding events virtually whenever possible.
There will be some university sponsored gatherings/events that are allowed to exceed the 10 person rule as indicated by the Public Health Response Team. These events will be held in university facilities where COVID-19 guidelines can be maintained and facilitated by university staff. Additionally, the Cary Street Gym and Larrick Student Center recreational facilities have also been approved to exceed this rule based on their plan submitted to the Public Health Response Team.
All VCU sponsored, on-campus events, meetings and gatherings are limited to VCU faculty, staff and students. Outdoor events must follow the same safety requirements as indoor events:
Students and employees can use their VCU ID to obtain hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and face coverings at no cost from vending machines located throughout campus. Individuals are allotted one swipe per item per month (i.e., one of each item can be obtained each month).
Monroe Park Campus vending machine locations:
MCV Campus vending machine locations:
How we teach, interact with one another and conduct daily life on campus will change.
How we teach, interact with one another and conduct our daily life on campus will change.
University employees supporting VCU Health: VCU Health has established different zones of risk to help team members supporting VCU Health understand the risks of exposure to COVID-19 or potential COVID-19 patients. These zones will be made visible around the hospital and clinics so you can be more aware of any areas that may increase your risk of COVID-19 exposure. VCU Health monitors this situation closely. Frequent hand washing and physical distancing between team members when possible is expected in ALL zones. Zones are listed on the VCU Health website.
Tents: VCU has installed tents with more than 100 seats for students, faculty and staff to use for eating and studying. The tents — open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — are located at three locations:
Hibbs Hall classroom spaces: VCU has also dedicated some classroom space in Hibbs Hall for eating and studying. The classrooms and hours of operation Monday through Friday (unless otherwise noted) are listed below:
Stations with disinfectant wipes will be provided in both the tents and the classrooms. Individuals should clean up after themselves, disinfect shared surfaces before and after use, and not move the furniture that has been positioned to maintain physical distancing.
Two courses in Talent@VCU are designed to "reboard" employees to a new VCU environment.
Additionally, supporting materials related to the phased return to research are posted on the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation website at research.vcu.edu/covid-19/
Plans related to faculty will include a phased return of faculty members to campuses as well as changes to course formats and instructional spaces. A number of resources to support faculty in their endeavors to teach, design, build and assess courses will be offered. As a reminder, in order to comply with safety measures, all courses with an enrollment of 50 or more students on the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses will be taught in a remote/online format.
Major details include:
Major supports proposed to help faculty prepare to teach, design, build and assess include:
Managers should demonstrate flexibility in developing return to campus staffing plans, particularly for those caring for others, or who have concerns about returning to campus. Management options include:
Faculty will work with their department/unit on their return to campus plan.
Manager training covers liberal and equitable distribution of telework and task assignments to support employees, as well as best practices for managing remote employees.
Appeals to return to campus staffing decisions:
Employees may request ADA workplace accommodations through the university ADA/504 Coordinator. Employees should discuss with their manager and their HR professional any other alternative work arrangements.
We encourage you and your manager to think flexibly about how your work is best performed, how the job is structured, how the work of the team is organized, and what kind of changes may be made to support you and your colleagues at this time, while maintaining effective departmental operations.
In general, options currently available include:
A full listing of existing options and what they look like when applied may be found on the HR return to campus page under “resources for working parents at VCU.” Your HR professional is positioned to assist in these conversations, if needed. As a reminder, an FAQ list covering topics like virus exposure, quarantine information, and caring for someone with COVID-19 is found on the HR COVID-19 page.
As a premier public research university, we are fortunate to have resources and expertise right here at VCU, including our nationally-ranked School of Education. We encourage you to review the #SOESupportsYou Campaign, where SOE faculty share advice and strategies on how to achieve success with your child’s virtual learning during this time.
Students and employees returning to the VCU campus and surrounding community from destinations abroad with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Levels 2 and 3 Travel Health Notices or from areas in the U.S. experiencing high levels of COVID-19 should take precautions consistent with the CDC’s guidance to protect others from getting sick.
In addition, for 14 days after traveling, these individuals should stay home as much as possible, avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and consider getting tested for COVID-19.
Students residing in VCU residence halls should contact University Student Health Services and refer to the Residential Life and Housing website for additional self-quarantine and isolation requirements.
University-sponsored international travel for faculty and staff to U.S. Department of State Level 1 or 2 countries must be approved by the Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs or the Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. University-sponsored travel to Level 3 or 4 countries remains suspended.
University-sponsored domestic travel out of state for clinical and research purposes is permissible with the approval of the senior vice president for health sciences or the provost.
Members of the VCU community are encouraged to limit personal travel. We encourage students and employees to refer to the CDC and U.S. Department of State to be fully informed of potential health risks and travel restrictions that may be in place.
Payroll deductions/prepaid permits
Beginning on July 25, 2020, VCU payroll deductions and payment for prepaid permits will resume for employee subscribers. The first deduction will be seen in the August 14 paycheck. Expiration dates for prepaid permits were extended by the length of time for which subscribers may have paid, as of March 31, 2020. Prepaying subscribers can view the new expiration date for your permit by accessing the parking portal at https://vcu.t2hosted.com/Account/Portal.
In the event your teleworking arrangements extend beyond July 25, you have the option to cancel your parking permit, purchase a temporary parking option, or continue with payments/deductions to reserve your parking assignment. Learn more about these options at https://parking.vcu.edu/parking/faculty-and-staff/options-and-rates/.
Riding GRTC: Students and employees can continue to utilize GRTC for essential travel. GRTC has taken additional safety measures to help ensure the well-being of drivers and passengers during COVID-19. Some of their most recent safety efforts include: implementing enhanced daily bus cleaning procedures, installing sanitizer dispensers on all vehicles, redistributing buses from low-ridership routes to high-ridership local routes to help promote physical distancing, disinfecting high-traffic areas periodically with Steriphene aerosol disinfectant and encouraging more frequent staff testing. GRTC also requires all passengers to wear face masks or nose and mouth coverings while riding. Passengers without masks may be asked to exit the bus. You can learn more about how GRTC is responding to COVID-19 at ridegrtc.com/news-initiatives/news-updates/grtc-and-covid-19-coronavirus.
Temporary physical distancing shuttle coming in August: In addition to GRTC, starting in August 2020 for the fall semester, VCU Parking and Transportation will operate a temporary physical distancing shuttle to support VCU community members with increased safety concerns. The shuttle will travel to Cabell Library, One Capitol Square and McGuire Hall, and physical distancing measures in addition to face mask requirements will be enforced. Additional information regarding this shuttle will be released later this summer.
We look forward to welcoming new and returning international students to campus this fall. To guide students in returning to campus, the Global Education Office has prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers. This is a living document and will be updated as needed. Faculty and staff who receive questions from international students should direct them to these FAQs or email GEO at GEOIS@vcu.edu.
There are hundreds of details involved in each of these measures and considerations. Your input is very helpful as we move forward. Climatext, a real-time data collection tool developed by VCU Information Technology and the Division for Inclusive Excellence, is part of the university’s proactive monitoring and response plan to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Climatext provides quick feedback to uncover trends and gain insights that the university can incorporate into decisions. In this new climate, tools like this help ensure we get the input we need in time to use it. Learn more about climate surveys and continue to share your ideas.